The Incredible Story of How Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Wrote Music for a Dying Fan

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Comedian Craig Gass recently shared an emotional story about Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready while he was on SiriusXM’s Opie Radio.

As Gass tells the show in the video below, McCready did a favor for him on behalf of a dying Pearl Jam fan by recording music for the man to listen to in his final moments.

“Mike is a really selfless guy,” Gass says. “He did something for me that was really, really profound.”

Gass is a Seahawks fan and says that while he was at a Seahawks bar in Las Vegas, a woman named Rene came up and introduced herself:

“This woman came up and said, ‘Hey, my husband is your biggest fan, and he’s too shy to say hello to you.’ I said, ‘Well where's he at? I want to hang out with him!’

“So I went over to sit down with him. And he’s this really nice a guy. He’s a special ed teacher who lives in Vegas. He’s really overweight, he’s got a shit ton of health problems that has caused him to be swimming in debt. He was actually in a coma.

“And they started telling me this amazing story. His wife goes, ‘I would go visit him when he was in a coma, and I would play his favorite band on a boom box. He actually had a physical reaction when I played his favorite band on one of the mornings I came to visit him. He actually had tears coming out of his eyes in a coma.’

“I said, ‘Who is your favorite band?’ He goes, ‘Pearl Jam.’”

As it happens, Gass is good friends with McCready—something Bob knew because he followed Gass’s Facebook page.

Shortly afterward, Gass and Bob became walking buddies. About a year later, Gass met up with McCready and told him about his fan.

“I go, ‘I talk to this guy every day, and we go for a walk. This guy is such a fan of your band that he actually had a physical reaction in a coma.

“I would normally never ask for you to do this, but the next time you guys play in Vegas, is it okay if I send him to the show to meet you?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ Then he made a joke: ‘Maybe the band will take him for a walk around the building.’ I was going to surprise Bob with that.”

Unfortunately, this past September, Bob’s condition turned. Rene called Gass to say Bob was told he had 48 hours to live.

“So I get in my car, I start driving straight to Vegas to be with Bob, and I started texting Mike,” Gass says. “‘Mike, I don’t know if you remember, but you said that you would meet a friend of mine, my walking buddy who is a special ed teacher. He’s not going to get the chance because I just got a call that he’s got 48 hours to live. I’m actually in a car driving to Vegas to go be with him, but I would like you to know what he would have said to you, because he talked about you all the time, and he didn’t know he was going to get the chance to meet you someday.’’

  • “So I started writing a fan letter to my buddy, via the conversations I had with Bob, and Mike writes me back and says, ‘What’s his name?’ I said, ‘It’s Bob Miles.’ After about 20 minutes, he started sending me videos of him playing guitar.
  • “He wrote music for Bob.”

In the first recording, McCready delivered a personal message to his fan: “Hey Bob, this is Mike McCready. I got a message from my dear friend Craig Gass, and I want to send you something I’m writing for you right now. Hopefully this helps you in your journey.”

“The last thing [Bob] saw was his favorite guitarist of his favorite band playing music for him,” Gass says. “That’s the last thing Bob saw before he went under, and that’s the kind of person that Mike McCready is—an incredibly selfless person.”

The full clip of Gass telling the story is below and includes some of McCready’s music to Bob. Take a look.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.